My Steelers are 2-4 and on the road to take on the lowly Oakland Raiders. Of course, the Raiders have been playing much better lately. They battled the Denver Broncos and beat the Arizona Cardinals. I happen to believe the Steelers are significantly better than the Cardinals – and at least as good as the Broncos (We’ll find out when Denver visits the Steel City in a few weeks.) Still, anything can happen on any given Sunday. The think that better not happen is the Steelers losing to the Raiders. If the Steelers were to find a way to lose this game, I’d be banned from my bar for at least a year. I’d probably have to buy everyone drinks for about two months – and the Steeler Nation group (about 40 strong) that rolls there each week would have to disband. There’s a lot riding on this game.
NFL Lines For Week 8 – NFL Football Line Week Eight
NFL Game Lines 10/29 & 10/30, 2006
|Date & Time||Favorite||Line||Underdog||Total|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At Tennessee||-3||Houston||41.5|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At Philadelphia||-7.5||Jacksonville||39.5|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At Cincinnati||-3.5||Atlanta||44.5|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At NY Giants||-9||Tampa Bay||40|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At Chicago||-16||San Francisco||42|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At Green Bay||-4||Arizona||44.5|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At Kansas City||-4||Seattle||37|
|10/29 1:00 ET||At New Orleans||-1.5||Baltimore||37|
|10/29 4:05 ET||At San Diego||-9.5||St. Louis||45|
|10/29 4:15 ET||Pittsburgh||-9||At Oakland||39|
|10/29 4:15 ET||At Cleveland||-2||NY Jets||37|
|10/29 4:15 ET||At Denver||-3||Indianapolis||39.5|
|10/29 8:15 ET||At Carolina||-5||Dallas||41|
Monday Night Football Line
|10/30 8:30 ET||New England||-2||At Minnesota||38.|
Here we go…let’s do a better job this week than last week. Ouch.
First up, Texans at Titans. This should be an intriguing match up. The Texans have taken a bit longer than I envisioned to get their show on the road. Much of this is attributable to the pre-season loss of Domanick Davis. Last week, Wali Lundy emerged as the type of back that just might put the Texans on his back. Last week, the Texans beat the Jaguars in Houston. This week, they’re on the road against Vince Young and the Titans. I’ll take the Titans because they’ve been so tough for the past few weeks. They battled on the road at Indy and won on the road in Washington. Tennessee 27, Houston 21.
Jacksonville is on the ropes. Jack Del Rio is planning the Rope-a-Dope with David Garrard and it just might work. The Eagles have lost games this year precisely because they have consistently blinked at crucial moments in big games. They may blink against the Jaguars and find out the hard way that David Garrard is a baller. The Jaguars need a focal point for this game – and it has to be controlling Brian Westbrook. That’s much easier said than done. Moreover, Donovan McNasty is getting Donte Stallworth back. Expect the Eagles to attack short and deep, often. Philadelphia 31, Jacksonville 17.
Do the Bengals really want to stop the run? Hell no! The Falcons are going to get their yards on the ground – but don’t expect a repeat of Michael Vick’s passing prowess this week. I like the Bengals to get the W here. Rudi Johnson should do well today. I don’t know what type of game Chad Johnson will have. I know that his route running and hands, combined with Carson Palmer’s precision passing, is too much for any DB to defend all game long. DeAngelo Hall will need help. I don’t he gets enough help to slow the Bengals today. Cincinnati 38, Atlanta 27.
I’m a bit surprised that the Giants are 9 point favorites over the Bucs. I mean, isn’t this the classic game that the Giants lose? It is – but I don’t want to push my luck with the Bucs. I picked them the past two weeks to beat the Bengals and the Eagles. I’ve ridden this roller coaster long enough. I’m getting off before the stuff hits the fan. These teams have played one another regularly for most of the past five seasons. There is a higher degree of familiarity than usual. Gimme the G-men in a low-scoring affair. New York Giants 20, Tampa Bay 10.
Da Bears against the Forty Whiners. The Niners showed lots of pluck in losing to the Chargers, but the focused Bears should be too much. The game is in Chicago, so the Niners can forget it. The spread is too big for me. 16 points? Against a team that scored 19 points against the Chargers and consistently moved the ball with Frank Gore and Alex Smith? Nope. Take the abysmal Niners and the points. Chicago 21, San Francisco 6.
The Chargers defense is banged up and now they have to deal with Stephen Jackson and Torry Holt and Isaac Bruce. That’s not going to be fun. This could be a long game. I suspect that Marty may want to get back to “Marty Ball” after losing to the Chiefs on the road in a high-scoring game. That might be the best formula today. The longer Bulger and company have the rock, the more damage they can do. If Tomlinson and Turner get 35 carries, the Chargers will cover. If Rivers throws 35 to 40 passes, I think the Rams keep it close. San Diego 34, St. Louis 20.
The Cardinals are going on the road to Green Bay. I would imagine that Matt Leinart is going to be ecstatic about this challenge. He might be nervous and a bit awe-struck by competing at Lambeau against Favre, but this is a tremendous opportunity. I think he steps up to the challenge. I think the Cardinals offensive line bounces back from the debacle against the Raiders and successfully opens a few holes for Edgerrin James. Here’s the problem…Favre and the Packers might score 40 points today. Green Bay 39, Arizona 35.
The Seattle Seahawks are going to have their hands full with the Chiefs today. It’s an old AFC West reunion. Of course, not too many of the Seahawks remember those days, but this franchise has always had tough times in Arrowhead. They’re not alone – ask the Chargers. I’ve decided the Chiefs are not as bad as most people think – and they’re not as good as they think. Last year, they won one more game than the Chargers and beat the Patriots, Broncos and a number of quality teams. They simply gave up too many points. They’re still a work in progress, but Larry Johnson is a work of art. Kansas City 33, Seattle 28.
The Saints are going to have a tough time with the Ravens this afternoon. I don’t like their offensive match ups. From where I’m sitting, I see Marques Colston having a difficult time getting off the line against Chris McAllister. I see Joe Horn having a tough time running away from Samari Rolle and I see the Saints plodding along in the running game. Still, I have to like Drew Brees. He can beat the Ravens. He can make the type of throws that are critical to beating the aggressive Ravens. The Ravens offense needs to improve significantly. It’s still early in the season and since I’ve dropped McNair and Derrick Mason from my fantasy team, I not exactly hoping they have a great game. The Saints underrated defense should be enough to get it done. New Orleans 17, Baltimore 13.
Pittsburgh 45, Oakland 10. There’s no story here.
The 4:00 snoozer game: Jets at Browns. Patriot Games, Redux: Mangini vs. Crennel. Boring! There are some players that I really like on both teams: Leon Washington (Florida State), Braylon Edwards (Michigan), Kellen Winslow (Miami SugarCanes). It’s just not likely to make for a compelling game. I do not like the Jets on the road. Never have, never will. Cleveland 24, New York Jets 21.
I remain unimpressed with the Broncos defense. I like Manning and company to make it happen. Joseph Addai is beginning to roll. Marvin Harrison can’t stop rolling. Indianapolis 45, Denver 28.
The Cowboys were busy this week trying to pull that Giant FORK out of their guts. I think they’re done. Romo is a nice story, but he’s Road Kill against the Panthers in Carolina. Hopefully NBC will find their balls and dedicate their coverage to Steve Smith instead of that other dude. It would be nice to see the guy with the most skills get the most love. We’ll see. Carolina 56, Dallas 10.
The Vikings made my list for the softest NFL franchises of all time. Of course, this year’s version does not qualify as soft. The Vikings defensive tackles have devoured running games all year – and Chester Taylor has run with success up the middle. That’s a pleasant change for this team which has never had a punishing ground game or a punishing defense. They have exceptional running games (Chuck Foreman, Robert Smith, Michael Bennett (when healthy)) and exceptional defenses (Purple People Eaters) – but never punishing. This change, while pleasant, will not be sufficient to get with the emerging and punishing Patriots. I expect Dillon and Maroney to dish out some pain late in the game – not early. Brady needs to be sharp because the carpet can really improve the Vikings chances on Monday. Should be a nice homecoming for Maroney. 2 Td’s minimum. New England 30, Minnesota 20.
And that’s the week that will be.